Friday, January 11, 2013


The beauty of our first heavy snowfall
Blanketing the hillsides, dusting every tree in sight
A certain softness in the January air as slopes once green are now white
Memories of skiing with my young sons and husband in rolling hills
  Full of elk and even buffalo roaming free in the Alberta parkland
  Twenty-five miles due east of Edmonton, our home for fourteen years.
  These memories speak quietly to my aging body.

Storm clouds gather in early September,
Foretelling a colder winter to come after a record hot summer
Friends once close, suddenly die of mysterious illnesses.
I grieve their passing, wondering why am I still in this lifetime?
There is so much uncertainty, so much loss, behind and before me.
 It comes with the territory of aging.   I choose to live fully despite my limitations, some real, some imagined.  There are pluses to a slower pace in this awesome community.

The doe and her fawn dart in the darkness across a city boulevard
No longer able to dwell on safer ground where houses now stand. The trees and shrubs and open spaces they counted on are gone.  Progress is tough on wild creatures.
White lines and streetlights help me navigate the darkness when I have cause to venture out.  What shall I do when no longer able to drive?  It’s a precious freedom my fading vision no longer takes for granted.  I do my eye exercises religiously.

The memory of fresh salmon with shitake mushrooms, leeks and garlic shared with a friend on many a cold, winter’s night, gave comfort and camaraderie to us both. He has moved away to a warmer climate, to live nearer family who welcome him.
The memory of skating on a frozen Alberta pond when my sons were young.  The minus 30 degrees skies were blue, pure and unpolluted, but the sun set by 3:30 p.m. in January.

Memories that speak of life’s pleasures often gone or infrequent for me now, but God willing, they’ll live on for the youngsters now raising kids of their own.  There are toddling grandchildren whom I’ll see more often as they are sturdier, and traveling to Oregon will be easier when they’re old enough to hang out with Grandma while their parents go exploring, or we all take outings together.  It’s no longer fun to travel alone as I did so readily in my forties.

I wake from a winter’s nap, treasuring memories and anticipating more good times to come.  Solitude is often my buddy, but I’m still a people person. My heart still has dreams not yet fulfilled, as I greet the new day, usually still glad to be alive!
     Carol Browning    1/11/2013

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